Monday, October 27, 2008

So I've been thinking a lot and have made a decision to close Kaboodle Kids. With three kids, one of them being a newborn, it makes sense to concentrate on my family at this time. It has been a hard decision but I think is the right one.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I have now found how to make sales on the web! My lastest newsletter generated more sales in one day than ever before! Let's see how the week turns out!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

So here is Josh on the way to New York, ready to work the crowd! He did very well at the show. Quite a few people didn't realize he was real so when he actually moved while sleeping, it startled some. After three days with him on the road, I was ready to be home as much as he was. I was surprised how low the participation was at the ENK Show. The economy is really showing in the retail arena, quite disheartening.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Busy Busy Busy... getting ready for the ENK Children's Club show in New York coming up next week October 5-7. I am bringing a live model, Joshua, at 9 weeks old.

So I was talking logistics with bringing a baby and all to my husband the other day and he said rather abruptly that I couldn't bring Joshua with me and walked off, ending the conversation. I smirked but didn't say a word. Within ten minutes, he comes out again and says, you have to take him! Not sure all the thoughts that popped into his head but the thought of waking up 3 to 4 times a night was not what he had in mind. I think it will be fun.

Not sure if Conway knows much about babies but will soon learn as I am very good at passing my baby off to get small relief sometimes (just so you know, I don't give him to strangers). It will definitely be different having a little one while doing the show. I could only do it since I have others at the show with me. At the Vegas Show I did see a couple of the vendors bring their little ones so I figured he could come too.
I thought it might be nice to get a sneak preview of a few of the items from each of the collections coming in Spring/Summer 2009. The girls have three collections: the Polka Mix, Magical Bloom and African Inspiration; while the Boys - the African Bug Safari.

So the first dress you see at the top is the Swing Dress from the Magical Bloom Collection, then the Polka Dot Dress, and the African Skirt and Top. There are a wide variety of shorts, pants, tops, dresses and skirts in each of the three collections. For boys you see the shorts and shirts sets, then the Golfer T's and the Dungarees and Tshirt. There are also board shorts, pants and other shirts as well to complete the collection.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Dashin Fashion - Global Children's Clothing Magazine Guide Community Dashin Fashion Global Children's Clothing Magazine & Guide featured us this week! What an awesome surprise! Check out the boy pic in the Stripe Golfer Shirt. She did a great writeup for us too.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The new Bug Zoo Fall/Winter lines are in! We just finished our photo shoot yesterday and the girls did a great job: Lauren looking quite mature I think in the Corduroy Skirt and Brown Mesh Top while Emily showing off in the mix and match Swing Top/Leggings, Aline Dress/Leggings, and Gypsy Skirt and Flowers Top.

I just have to add some pics of Joshua looking so adorable that he was added to the picture taking process too yesterday. Here he is winking at the girls that they did a great job! (otherwise known as the "one eye" as he has been doing this since birth!) He is a very happy boy and loves being on his tummy!

Monday, August 18, 2008

I received my copy of the HUDSON'S Childrenswear Review magazine today! We have coverage on the cover of the back section of CAMP USA Fashions which starts on page 57 (click on August 2008 pages to see sections of the magazine). The Camp USA Fashions cover shows a boy and girl blowing bubbles. The cute girl is wearing our Denim & Muslin Tank Top and Denim Shorts. She also shows up on page 72 dragging a back pack and losing all her items out of it. Because it's considered a cover page, the Kaboodle Kids info shows up under the table of contents on page 8, and we do show up with our phone number on page 71 too with all the other companies listed. I am so excited to have the Bug Zoo clothes line chosen in their magazine. Wahoo!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

So this sums up the past two weeks... we've slept a lot together. My hubby took this pic the other night. Isn't he precious? and don't I look exhausted? He's already gained another full pound in two weeks. Now he's 7 lbs 15 oz. people say he has boyish features, what do you think?
Both the girls absolutely adore him! They always want to hold him, which gives me time to do a few things. Here's each one being the big sister, Lauren burping Josh and Emily posing with him.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Well, today is the day! I'm in the hospital this morning being induced (and using their free wifi!). Contractions just started, very mild, no swearing at hubby yet. I'll post when baby Josh is here!

Friday, July 25, 2008

So it's 3 am and I've been up for 2 hours as I can't sleep. At least I get a lot of work done during these strange hours I am up in the middle of the night. So this week, I went down a water slide, not to worry it was a very relaxed type one that just zigzagged around, no big deal. Then the following day I took my 4 year old out on a zetski ride on "no ripple" (glass) type waters and didn't even go over any bumpy waves. Still no baby delivery. This little guy wants to stay until my due date, which is now 1 week away. I already lost the family bet. My 4 year old is the next contender to potentially win when baby Josh will come. My latest advice from a friend was to go on a motorcycle ride, delivery will definitely happen then (or so her mom delivered the following day!) Not so sure it sounds like a good idea, people did strange things back in the day. Any ideas?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hudson's Childrenswear Review Magazine called to say they were putting one of the Bug Zoo outfits into their magazine. That is awesome! Based on our discussion, I believe it will be the outfit my daughter is wearing in the pic, although she won't be in the magazine. They use their own models. We'll see how it looks when their August issue comes out. Hope we get some great leads out of this as well.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

And I was worried he'd come last week when my husband was traveling! I even got into a small fender bender yesterday and still only dialated 1 centimeter when I went to the doctor today. Funny how things work out!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Dejavu! Could it happen a second time around? At 36 weeks pregnant, I said goodbye to my husband this morning for his last set of business trips before the baby comes... or will he come early like my last child?

You see, about 4 years ago, I was also 36 weeks pregnant and my husband went on his last business trip to New Orleans. We were temporarily living at my in-laws down the street as the house was under major remodel at the time. At about 10:30 p.m. I jumped off the couch, telling my mother-in-law that either I just accidently peed on her couch or my water just broke. Luckily it was the later and it was only trickling out actually. I remember standing in the shower dripping there while on the phone with my husband telling him it was time and he said the airport was closed. He and his business traveler, also a very good friend, decided to rent a car and start driving to Atlanta to hopefully pick up the earliest flight the next morning. So off I went to the hospital with my mother-in-law and a girlfriend met us there. I decided on the epideral to hopefully hold her off until her daddy arrived the next morning.

The next morning comes and we hopefully have a good chance that my darling husband can make it. My girlfriend had to go home to her family. A little later, the wife of my husband's traveling partner shows up to see how things are progressing. It's about 10 am and I just get off the phone with my husband. He said driving took longer than he was told but he's boarding a plane right now and would turn off his cell and call when the plane landed. No sooner had I hung up the phone when the nurse came to check on me. The prognosis was I was 10 centimeters and the catheter was holding the baby inside, calling the doctor quick!!!! No problem, I had my mother-in-law and a girlfriend there to help. I couldn't possibly leave a message for my husband now that he was on the plane. I didn't want to give his hopes up after all he had been through.

Within the hour, I gave birth to a healthy baby girl. My husband calls just before noon when he got off the plane. I told him his baby girl was waiting for him. He was ecstatic thinking it meant that the baby was inside me waiting for him, but I had to tell him the truth and he was devastated! He showed up at the hospital with flowers... what else could he do? We took lots of pictures with him and his baby girl. He looked the part of an expected father up all night! To this day, both girls do not know that daddy wasn't there for the birth of his second child... now that she's the middle child, the last thing we want is for siblings to say something nasty about this fact (as we all know siblings do!).

The only difference here today is that my husband picked destinations where every airport he's at this week is a 24 hour airport that he can get a flight immediately back! Pray he makes it home to his wife before her water breaks!

This is my most inspirational story for Mamanista. Kaboodle Kids has given the Leopard Rust Boys T Shirt as a shower gift and also as a prize.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Busy, busy, busy! Our home is a mess with everything from one room in piles all around the house. We finally finished painting the room and putting up closet shelves last night. Today it's time to put everything back and work on the little details, ordering blinds and one small piece of furniture. We're in the home stretch!

On the business front, I am sending samples to Hudson's magazine for their camping photo shoot for their August magazine. I am excited and hopeful that some items will be chosen. Also, we are now featured in Uptown Liz, where they market for companies that give back to charity in any way. It's pretty cool. As a shopper, they outline the site well. You can shop by charity or cause you love or by product you might be looking for. Under each product, it lists the charity and how much the company gives to it. We have a few items listed in the boys, girls, infants and toddler sections and also listed under the charity heading "World Hunger". I heard her story on Daryn Kagan last week and asked to be added.

Hopefully delivering early, like the others... but realizing as I am talking to other moms of 3 and 4 kids that the last one seems to stay in until the very end. I will be a very unhappy and BIG person if that happens!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

By the end of this week, I'll be 34 weeks pregnant and definitely ready to deliver... only after the flooring is installed this Friday and I paint the walls and get everything back in order. I say two weeks and then Joshua can come out. That would make it 36 weeks, just like the last one. So here is a pic taken this past Father's Day weekend and see how my kids use my baby bump as a pillow. Poor guy is already being pushed around and he's not even out yet! ;-)

I have this idea that the others came early so this one will to. Wouldn't it be terrible if he came on or after my due date (Aug 1)? I am not so worried about that part as how big he will be. I am used to popping out small 6 pounders, not the big guys!

Here are some of the cute sonogram pics. Those 4 dimensional ones make him look like an alien so I won't put those up, although once you get used to them they do look pretty cool. I like this one of him waving. He sure is a mover and a shaker in there. My husband doesn't understand how I can sleep at night with that much movement! As he gets bigger it's harder to really see all of him, but my last sonogram, it looked like he was munching on his toes! All I could think of was how scrunched he was in there and did he really want to nibble on them or was he forced to? Here's the E.T. phone home pic:

Friday, June 06, 2008

Part 2 of customs audit: I got another action letter in the mail about the customs audit. It seems they have reviewed the information we sent and have 5 more areas in question. Keeps me on my toes...

Monday, June 02, 2008

After 2 years, it seems only fair I guess that customs is auditing my latest shipment that came in. I should have had a clue when customs actually opened one of the boxes when the merchandise arrived this time. I am just happy to have my shipment and have the audit being done after the fact.

Bug Zoo sent over all the required paperwork (and then some) for the audit. My broker even said they provided quite a bit. The paperwork has now been submitted to customs and we are waiting for them to review it all and hopefully respond that everything is ok.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

In my third year now, my mind races at the thought of how Kaboodle Kids is doing. Will the company survive where so many other startups failed? What makes a company successful? Of course, profitability is the bottom line of true success... or is it? What I got in the mail today showed me that although making a profit is important to maintain and survive, I found another aspect I feel makes Kaboodle Kids successful today.

You see, I got a letter from Feed The Children today. It contained a Certificate of Appreciation in recognition of Kaboodle Kids, basically saying that the contributions Kaboodle Kids has provided in the past 12 months is equivalent to provide 49,830 lifesaving meals for our country's hungriest children. I am in awe at our small 10% donations and what it can do for all those people! If there is any time I feel like giving up, I'll have to bring out that certificate.

Now I am wondering since our contributions are earmarked for the Abandoned Baby Center in Kenya, does my money go farther there????

I did a quick calculation, 365 days in a year times 3 meals = 1095 meals per year for 1 person. 49,830 divided by 1095 = 45 people were fed for the year! and my husband is worried about this new baby we're having... at least we know we can feed him! ;-)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Part two of the Kids Fashion Show starring the Hooligans line first is Madi wearing the Loving Africa Giraffe Dress, having a great time on stage. I would say she was our most livliest model we had. She definitely knows how to boogey down!

Emily, my daughter, is on the right wearing the Cargo Mesh Skirt and Safari Girl Top. She was quite shy as is her nature but did like doing the fashion show and told me she wants the outfit as well. What I love is that the tops mix and match quite well with all the skirts.

Dominic came on stage as a supportive brother, holding his sister Alyssa. Dominic is wearing the Cargo Shorts and Africa At Play Shirt while Alyssa is wearing the Lion Scrunch Top and Jungle Layer Skirt.

Our baby model was a no show last minute due to mom wanting to enjoy herself at the Tea Party (I can't say that I blame her.) The rompers are just adorable from Hooligans and are quite popular!
I have some individual pictures of the models at the Trinity Learning Center Kids Fashion Show. These children are modeling the Bug Zoo line.
Here is Delaney and Brianna in the ever twirly Gypsy Dresses, both in the pink and orange prints. I love both prints, but my girls personally love the pink. Christina, (right) is wearing the Dolly Top and Pink Cullottes. This is one of my favorites as the cullottes are so light-weight with the cute flared pantlegs and the top has a flouncy look that moms even buy it one size bigger and have their daughters wear it as a summer dress with leggings. Just this past Friday at a home party I hosted, a mom bought this same outfit and her daughter still had it on when I left, with the cute matching pink hat!

Here is Kira in both the Fairy Dress (right)and the Princess Dress, looking absolutely fabulous! She pulled off the look well as she respresented herself easily as a princess. She loved "dressing up" and once she got over her shyness was able to flounce across the stage and strut her stuff! The Fairy Dress comes in white and pink.

Below (right) is Patrick, who was my most enthusiastic model, until he hit the stage. He became quite shy at the prospect of standing in front of so many people. He is wearing the Surf Panel Shirt and Dip Dye Shorts. His mom loved it so much she bought the whole outfit after the show!

TJ and Isabella are ready for a summer party! TJ has on the Orange Check Shirt and Navy Shorts. This shirt can go with just about anything, black, navy or jean shorts. Isabella is wearing the Voile Party Dress, looking as pretty as ever. She was quite shy so we had a hard time getting a picture of her.

We also gave our viewers at the show a sneak peak at the 3 Tier Dress coming in the Fall. Christina modeled this dress for us. There is also a matching long sleeve top that can be worn with it, but those of us that live in South Florida wouldn't need the extra shirt so we didn't have her model it for this audience.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Kaboodle Kids first Children's Fashion Show!

Trinity United Methodist Church put on a "Kids Fashion Show and Tea Party" starring, of course, children that go to Trinity Learning Center and fashions by yours truly... Kaboodle Kids! It was a lot of fun! Besides the fact that there were many things we can do better next year... we got great feedback from those that were there. I think the kids had a lot of fun, as you can see from the picture. Now during the show, they didn't have this casual approach as you see them now after the show has ended. There was the abrupt stop,
turn around I am outta here, and the deer in headlights stare among the many poses we got! These are all pictures of the group afterwards playing with the many toys we had as props on the stage to lure them. Coming soon will be the pictures of the children in the show in each of the brands, Bug Zoo and Hooligans.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Howdy! We had a "Wild West" family weekend trip to the Westgate River Ranch in Central Florida, horseback riding, hayrides and rodeos (I didn't go horseback riding though). Let's see, we also went on an airboat ride, swamp buggy ride and the weather was perfect for swimming. The girls were fun to watch as they somewhat petted the animals at the petting zoo.

Many of you out there want to see my baby bump so here is the latest pic from this past weekend playing putt putt with the girls. So I am in the final stretch, officially in the third trimester now. Baby Joshua has been kicking up a storm. I am trying to keep as active as possible. Oh but I found a better pic since I had a chance to review all the pics so I'll add this one too of us outside the "Wild West" town.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Kids Fashion Show in 3 weeks!!! Can I pull it off? I am already committed so I guess so. The one thing I have going for me is that I just spoke to a woman who has done a children's fashion show and I got some great ideas... like remember, kids don't do anything you want them to do so just go with the flow and many more of course. I've been brainstorming all night. I have twenty minutes to MC this thing and then it's tea time (well lunch) and hopefully shopping. It should be a fun time, but also tiring. I'll be about 28 weeks pg then so I'll be even larger than I already am! What am I thinking!?! As I am writing this, I feel him kicking. He's quite a mover and a shaker at night!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Who would have thought Kaboodle Kids could have reached so far? Check out our customer raves on our website. I have customer feedback as far as London, UK. Thanks Sofiya for your input!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Kaboodle Kids is going international! I've come to find out that every little blip in how I run Kaboodle Kids usually turns out to be a new stepping stone. Just recently, I had a customer email me from out of country trying to get an affordable shipping rate outside of the expensive express/overnight shippers. Based on her order, I had shipping prices from everywhere and found that the US Post Office 7-10 business days was the cheapest. It seems the international group won't mind the wait in exchange for the price. So I had a shipping rate for this one customer as a flat rate in the system for all to see in that country. Well what do you know, someone else ordered a nice size order with that flat shipping rate. No issues but I learned a valuable lesson. I remembered to change that flat shipping rate to something more in line to the average order and added many more countries to the list. I shouldn't be limiting myself to just the US. So if you are in a country I don't sell to today, let me know and we can change that.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

So I haven't gotten back to you on the huge success the Las Vegas Magic Marketplace was for the Bug Zoo brand! We got some great contacts, four immediate summer orders that we added in last minute and potential for more in the fall and even next summer as many were finished for this summer. As I am getting to know my new customers as well as potential customers and networking contacts, I am realizing that ENK in New York is the happening place to really do the show. We just missed that a couple of weeks back. The next one is in August to show the spring/summer line (most important). Could be tricky having a baby and doing a show as well. Hmmmm! Have to figure that one out. Not great timing...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I am half way through the pregnancy! 20 weeks already. Boy is it going fast. Today my husband and I picked our son's name, Joshua Karl. Karl is his great grandfather's name. We were going over quite a few names but Joshua seemed to stick more than the others. Too many boys name don't go well with our last name. But today, after the church service, it seemed to hit home for us that Joshua was the name. We learned that Joshua reminded Isreal about all that God had done for them. See, we had a small (I can say small now) scare from the blood test along with subsequent tests, but have recently found out that everything is ok. So Joshua represents what God has done for us as well.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

My new model for the website is a BOY! I was crying during the ultrasound. The technician didn't know what to think, asking if I was ok. I told her I was crying because I was happy, so then she was about to cry too. I didn't realize all these years how much I wanted a boy. Now that I am having one, everyone is telling me about what having a boy is like, both good and bad. I am a little bit worried I won't keep up with his energy (calculating my age when he's 10, etc...).

So I told the tech that I had to bring home an ultrasound pic that reflected the sex so my husband would be convinced for sure it was a boy. He is as elated as I am. It's a good thing this 3rd one is a boy as we were definitely stopping after this one. With the cat, we already rule 4 to 1 girls over boys in the household.

Monday, February 18, 2008

So here is the picture of our Bug Zoo showroom at Vegas. I think it looked great, not to cluttered and well layed out for easy viewing of all items. We also moved things around throughout the show so it did change a little bit since this pic.

There were certain outfits people just had to stop and touch every time, like that white Track Suit with the dark pink flowers, and the white Fairy Dress. White is very eye catching, but as most moms say here in the US, it get's dirty too fast, buy it in the pink color instead. So why do we have bleach then?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Vegas was awesome! Well worth it! Glad that the stars aligned for this to work out. (Although my husband got into an accident with my daughter while I was gone... but it wasn't his fault.) I came home to no van. Made it a little tricky when I had to go pick up freight today from customs... had to jam it in.

Not sure how I am even awake as I flew the red eye and arrived at 8 am this morning and haven't slept yet. Can't figure out when the time change will wear off.

It was great to see Chantel from Bug Zoo and reconnect since I hadn't seen her since last year when I went to visit South Africa. I learned a lot watching her communicate the story of Bug Zoo to potential wholesale customers and understand the value Bug Zoo has to offer the US and am proud to be the US agent for them. I did have to remind her that her visit to the US, being Vegas, was not really what the US is. The Disney for adults playhouse should not represent a tourist's first impression of what the US really is.

Friday, February 01, 2008

My husband and I got away for a few days without the kids and I got some much needed reading and thinking time. I found a great book I bought off the Sales Divas website (actually I get her email newsletters and ordered the book in late December) called "Power and Soul". It's about 42 entrepreneurs sharing their secrets for creating the business and life of their dreams. I recommend her newsletter as she shares tips on sales. It's very helpful to get these emails as it reminds me to focus on sales. As my husband has noted in the past, I have a habit of being very busy but not focusing on the important stuff.

I have read only about a quarter of the book but wanted to share some encouraging quotes from some of these entrepreneurs like, "One day I learned from a very successful business coach that you can 'take five years to become an overnight success'." "If you can do it all yourself, your dream isn't big enough!" and the one that hit home the most with me being only two years in my business dream is, "the temptation to quit will be greatest just before you're about to succeed". I love that one as that is exactly where I've been at the beginning of this year.

I am realizing that wholesale is the way for me to survive and I haven't found them in the Bug Zoo line as I have in the Hooligans line. I was wondering what to do when BAM! out of the blue, Bug Zoo emails me that they have been invited through the AGOA (African Growth Opportunity Act) to participate in the Magic Show in Vegas. I will be representing Bug Zoo there as the US agent. I am hoping great things come of this. I want to see lots of happy interested buyers. Wish us luck!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I would love to say that I've spent the last two weeks brainstorming on Kaboodle Kids upcoming year. Actually, I've had the flu so bad that I have been out of commission and still slowly getting back into a routine. Today is the first day that I could actually function and do something.

Some good news is that there is a new Kaboodle Kids model scheduled for arrival in early August (which explains why it took me so long to recover from the flu - the doctor only gives you something if you are the verge of death, which at times I did feel.) The girls are very excited! They want another sister of course.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Happy New Year! I decided to take off from blogging during my vacation and I enjoyed every minute of it! We enjoyed a white Christmas up north with family and the girls saw snow (lots of it) for the first time... we built our first snow fort and the girls made what they could of a snow lump from unpacking type snow. They experienced tubing down a slick hill and loved skiing for the first time! We are just happy we remembered how to snow board after all these years and realized once you learn it's like riding a bike.

It's a new year for Kaboodle Kids and I hope you stay tuned for all that happens in the following year.